(Text on pedagogy for the University of Navarre ETSA magazine)
The deductive methodologies used in what we’ll call “Teaching of the architecture”, are based on a one-way transmission between the educator and the learner. Transmission of information and own experiences that are inevitably burdened or biased not with ideology but with the filtering, both of the sources of content and the pedagogical material container. Even in the event of the mentor’s total neutrality, it is inevitable that such education is conditioned by the personal and professional profile of the educator.
The informative process of the deductive methodologies is essential in education, and especially in the University, it is as long as the contents are processed, stored and accessible in a context of maximum entropy, so in what the students should exercise pedagogically is the efficiency for accessing the information themselves. The professor figure giving master, lecturing classes must be limited within the framework of an exhibition and cultural positioning of subject that is to be exposed.
Inductive methodologies, those that are induced from the school process and the context of the educational material, are better released of ideological adhesions and replace the process’ protagonist (from the educator in the deductive pedagogies to the learner in the inductive pedagogies). It is about the students learning. What is it that the students learn? They primarily learn practices bind to reference types or models. They learn to solve second grade quadratic equations, learn to build sentences in certain languages, and so on.
In the architectural field students learn to solve space and form for a residential typology, to build with reinforced concrete, solve a proper height for the stretch of stairs, etc and do it along the practical projection or design according to the content and procedure, instructed by the tutor, which, in these methodologies becomes a subsidiary protagonist.
For those who, like me, understand the exercise of architecture as a creative work, pedagogically, it would be about entitling creators for the society (the concept of creativity to which I refer is as broad as that framed from the interpretation of known models and types to the broadest speculation in the territory of the unknown). But the creative condition is not the objective (or I think it could be reached) of the inductive and deductive methodologies. Creators are not taught or learn. Creators are formed.
The architect’s formation as creator should be the objective of the teaching process of the Architecture Schools.
The constructivist pedagogy refers to the formation of the learner as the process in which the student puts together its professional “construct”, concept which refers to the faculty acquired for an accurate response (and creative, I add) to stimuli, these being from any type and provenance, even if they have not been tested, or even expected, in the learning practices, of course.
With this methodology, the learner has derived from a teaching passive protagonist or active protagonist in learning, to be the object, the process’ pedagogic material.
The formation of a learner must occur in two critical environments, that of maximum freedom and on the student’s human, social, etc. context. The educator, pedagogically enabled, occupies a difficult but fascinating roll as sentinel and advisor in the process. The educational process is the curriculum’s material to be evaluated, while the result secondary data of statistical nature for the school rather than the students’ dossier. The educator, as part of this training process, is at the same time the object of pedagogy and is formed in parallel and in the same way as the learner.
Pedagogical constructivism establishes a reliable and experienced school with solvents techniques for their implementation in all disciplines and levels of education. These techniques distrust the effectiveness of educational programs, and especially the repetition of these programs. I regret to note the meager number of architectural projects that have pedagogical training and this gap is finally, supplied with a special enthusiasm and charisma through which, and above all completed by a transversal communication between students, it is formed in some way or partially teachers. The student learns to learn.
I would summarize, up to this point, that the architect’s formation should have a data bank available, efficiently processed for its easy accessibility, to which the students and teachers could access in each case, as they demand it. “Teachers” would intervene in the deductive process as advisers or consultants available to the process.
Schools would program disciplinary practices (specialized or interdisciplinary) where the students would exercise technical problems’ resolutions (projects, constructive, environment, etc.). Finally the students would be confronted to a context (committed to their real time and complexity) shared with their tutor, upon which they would make with their own material the productive response’s profile (or “construct”) and such would be the target or objective, process and end in itself.
Thus there are no specialized teachers nor tutors, nor subjects as watertight compartments. Rethinking not only programs and evaluation criteria, but the experts’ roles in certain disciplinary areas and their necessary participation throughout the process is precise. Somewhat it’s demanded that educators act as a team in a common project, of which they are a qualified part on the discipline of their domain.
In presence of such a perspective not only the architect’s model to form (building their own profile consistently with the highest degrees of freedom and context claimed by each learner) but also the evaluation and training systems, would be in crisis. Consequently in crisis would be the own Architecture’s territory, crisis from which the current architecture will not come unscathed before the statements set forth, from young professionals, already incorporated to the occupation or in transition of doing so from their eager creativity and freedom.
The graduation project (PFC) is, or should be a place for discussion and evaluation of the educational processes in an Architecture School.
In this country this teaching practice is particularly interesting, regarding the polytechnic profile that defines the professional practice and therefore programs to be trained on it.
This multi-discipline increases the degree of complexity of pedagogy and, obviously, of its final evaluation. Only in those schools in which this complexity is manifested in the process and analysis of the PFC, the pedagogical effectiveness of the programs, developing systems and the environmental conditions in which these are carried out (number of students, media, pedagogical capacity the teaching establishment, etc.) is shown to its full extend. To make this happen the process of editing a PFC should be released of links that typically ponder the professional to entitle method. A highly free state for tutors, candidates and court is necessary, we could say.
Processes, and the ones involved in the production of the PFC for molding the entitled are stressed by some centers, so he or she can wear the univocal costume of a professional architect to which the Centre is ascribed, and certainly succeed at the price of a more than doubtful and uncertain training result which agrees, from my point of view, with the model of the nineteenth-century romantic architect’s profile, and for a productive relationship (client, architect, constructor) today outweighed by the increase in entries of other agents and links arising from contemporary forms of life, social, economic and productive structures.
We need from this horizon otherwise describe the teaching process which concludes in its own essential corollary, the graduation final project or PFC.
The graduation final project or PFC is an essential pedagogical instrument for the student to form or build him/herself the professional able to develop and make reliable and viable, in the productive sector, the creative content proposed in his/her work. Perhaps this is the most evident opportunity for watching the results of a teaching methodology and in what I am concerned, that which deals with the formation of the creator.